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Virtual Staging Software Tutorial

Step by Step How to Choose and Use the Best Virtual Staging Software


Can you do a virtual staging tutorial and what software is used? How is it done; How did you become a virtual stagger? From where do you take the Virtual Staging Furniture?

Below I am reviewing the best virtual staging software plus other options out there; video tutorials were demonstrating my virtual staging solution and workflow; answers to the most common questions about virtual staging.
You can follow the exact steps and learn how to do it yourself for free. Besides, you will find my personal opinion and possible results with the different applications; in short, all about virtual staging software.

Virtual Staging Software

Virtual staging software is a marketing term invented by the industry of virtual staggers and digital companies. The virtual staging processes involve multiple types of software applications for one to achieve a complete and realistic staging, in addition to the design and staging skills.

For the past few years, the combination of 3Ds Max with Corona Render or V-ray keeps its top place as the best set of software for virtual staging. The only negative is the skills and time required for a stager to learn the software and virtual craft magic of digital furniture adaptation.

In recent years we’ve seen a few other companies developed “do it your self” virtual staging web-based applications, which can be used with little or no skills. The massive downside of this is the lack of design intent behind it. It may be perceived as a drag-and-drop application for furniture and decors, which is very far from staging.

Of course, everything has its exception, and some companies use the DIY software with their staging skills to virtually stage. Still, then the drawback of “not being realistic enough with a limited library of options for staging” comes in place.

As a short conclusion, we can divide the world of virtual staging software into two.

  • Complete bespoke way with very realistic results (3ds max + Render engine)
  • DIY or any other BIM software (easy and quick, but limited and far from realistic)

This is how this idea for making easy-to-understand tutorials for virtual staging software was born. To teach and make the industry a better way, which will result in improved services for the buyers and all real estate vendors in general.


What is Virtual Staging?

In short, virtual staging is a home staging but done in 3D with virtual reality software. All the principles from home staging are applied to the spaces but only to the listing photos.


I believe there are lots of answers to What is virtual staging, but none of them is so informative as the video below.

George Nicola - Expert Virtual Stager Tweet

How to become Virtual Stager?

Becoming Virtual Stager can probably be the best work-from-home job at the moment. The time needed to learn how to do basic virtual staging projects is 2 to 7 weeks, depending on the 3D and 2D software experience.

For a person without any prior knowledge of 3D software or design, the easiest and quickest way is SketchUp – V-ray workflow (videos below).

It is fairly easy to acquire basic skills to produce basic staging images of vacant spaces. Achieving average and expert staging work will take up to 1 to 3 years and require various design and marketing disciplines to be learned, alongside additional software.

You can get away with an average PC / Laptop for basic virtual staging jobs in the range of $700 – $1,000; Screen not included.
Follow the workflow I created below and you will see how easy it is to create your first virtual staging image!

Why Virtual Staging Software?

Virtual staging is one of the best and highest paying remote jobs considering the time needed to learn virtual staging software or the craft of the profession. It becomes a valuable tool when you have a goal in mind and are ready to pursue it. Your motivation may be to earn money while staging small real estate jobs for agents or marketing companies or demonstrating to prospective owners what their future design will look like, or even beyond this scope.

Virtual Staging Earning Potential

With Virtual Staging work, the earnings potential varies from $100 – $1,000 or +$10,000 for just a dozen of images.
Good organization skills focus and knowing the 3D software are key in achieving the desired earnings. As with everything, most virtual stagers achieve earnings between $100 to $1,000 on average as they never strive to the expert virtual staging level.
For example, at Step Eleven, I’m showing how I did a virtual staging photo priced at 400$.

What Virtual Staging Software is free?

There is no complete free option as software for virtual staging, but it can become 100% free if you learn how to do it yourself. This will require you to spend time learning how to work with different types of software applications, acquire & practice design and staging skills to achieve desired results.

The DIY Virtual Staging Software + Tutorials

The Do It Yourself virtual staging approach may be an option for those who have the free time, will, and passion for adding additional skills to their knowledge base. This is how I started many years ago, doing it myself step by step, at the times when youtube was not a thing at all.

George Nicola (Expert Virtual Stager)

I’ve been asked how I do virtual staging and what software I use a thousand times by our customers and by other colleagues in the virtual staging industry and fellow home staggers. 

If you want to learn how to do the virtual staging and use the software yourself and for free, continue to read. I am exposing how I do virtual staging, what does it take to become a virtual stagger, how do I get my virtual staging furniture, what software I use, and the entire workflow.

If this inside information does not relate to all and you are looking to place an order for virtual staging, please read the yellow box below.

To follow the virtual staging tutorials below requires additional knowledge about the following software

  • Autodesk 3Ds Max (any version above 2014)
  • SketchUp (Pro) and (Free) versions
  • Corona Render engine / V-ray Render Engine / Arnold Render Engine
  • Adobe Photoshop ( or any software with the capability to work and amend .jpg and .png files)

Main Features of the Virtual Staging Software method below

You have waited a long time now for this virtual staging tutorial, right?

Each software comes with its advantages and drawbacks, along with all features offered. For example with:

3Ds Max – Photo-realistic and highly detailed results can be achieved.

SketchUp is Quick and Flexible, and Free (excl the cost of the rendering software).

What virtual staging software to choose?

If you are a complete beginner, you can start with SketchUp, it’s easy to learn, it has a free version capable of doing all of the necessary work.

Below I have made a fun comparison between SketchUp and 3DsMax for virtual staging.

Best virtual staging software to choose?

If you are a “Do it yourself virtual staging” complete beginner, you can start with SketchUp, it’s easy to learn, it has a free version capable of doing all of the necessary work.

Below I have made a fun comparison between SketchUp and 3DsMax for virtual staging.

SketchUp for Virtual Staging

Consider watching both videos to see the difference between each of the software.

3Ds Max for Virtual Staging

Virtual Staging Software for Photographers

If you are a beginner photographer or a huge business, and you are buying virtual staging services that are up-sale to your clients. Or perhaps you want to learn how to work with the software? Luckily, you are in the right place. On this page, you will find the right content, which will help you to offset the costs by learning how to do virtual staging.

We offer a 30 mins no-obligation strategy consultation!

Or instead, you were thinking of changing your virtual staging provider?

How to do Virtual Staging for Free (with video)

How to do Virtual Staging for free?

Being first on the whole internet is always a great thing; we at TALLBOX decided to lift the curtains and show you how exactly virtual staging is done and what it takes.

Get 3Ds Max, Corona / V-ray, or Arnold render engines

You will need to download and pay for the software to follow the tutorials below.

Link to trial versions of all Softwares:

– 3Ds Max
– Corona render
 V-ray render
– Arnold render
– SketchUp

Get Photoshop or any post-production software

You will need software capable of editing images
– Photoshop (paid version)
– Photopea (web analog of Photoshop and free)

Virtual Staging Tutorial

This is your step One

Learn Design Principles: If you want to become a virtual stagger, you will need to learn many design principles, and you can do that by making small steps towards the end goal – becoming a virtual stagger. 

Watch the Virtual Staging tutorial below to get the best idea of what this virtual staging tutorial is really about.

 Virtual Staging Training Tutorial - Step 1 ( How to become a PRO! )

Virtual Staging Software: 3DS MAX; CORONA RENDERER

This is your step Two

Virtual Staging Training Tutorial - Step 2 ( 6 Rules to Stage a room )

If you are new to virtual staging, this is the right video to start learning. (tutorial not suitable for a complete beginners with the software mentioned below)

What’s in the video:

In this video tutorial, I am presenting you how to stage virtually the right way by using 6 rules which I have developed to help me virtually stage by using a real design approach, more than 900 properties per year. The whole process reduced my turnaround time and improved design.

You might be thinking that doing virtual staging in 2020 is easy, as there are so many websites with assets where you can just drag and drop. In reality, overall, the conversion rate of the “cataloged” virtually staged real estate is poor. If you are new to 3ds max and Corona renderer, you might not be able to follow the exact steps which I show in the video, but you can learn the structure of every virtual staging image.

For any further questions, let us know on the YouTube channel – the comments.

Virtual Staging Software: 3DS MAX; CORONA RENDERER

This is your step Three

Diy Virtual Staging vs Virtual Staging in professional software

Virtual Staging Training Tutorial - Step 3 ( DIY Virtual Staging vs Professional Virtual Staging software )

What’s in the video:

In this side-by-side comparison video, I’m comparing DIY virtual staging software vs. Professional virtual staging software. 
The DIY software has its advantages as easy to learn in 90-120 minutes and web-based, while the massive disadvantage is the flexibility and realism. On the other hand, the professional virtual staging software will require more time to learn and costs more at the beginning. Still, the results you will be able to deliver are highly realistic in addition to the great flexibility and vast range of 3D objects available for staging.

For any further questions, let us know on the YouTube channel – the comments.

Virtual Staging Software: 3DS MAX; CORONA RENDERER + WEB-BASED APP

This is your step Four

Virtual Staging Training Tutorial - Step 4 ( Perspective Match for Virtual Staging )

What’s in the video:

Everything in Virtual Staging starts with Perspective Match. This is the time where real estate photography gets implemented in the virtual staging software. In this video, you will learn how to get a real estate photo, import it to the virtual staging software (3Ds Max in this case) and match its perspective. Once this is done, you are one step closer to adding your first 3D object.

During the video, I have made some intentional mistakes, so you can learn how to avoid them just by watching

For any further questions, let us know on the YouTube channel – the comments.

Virtual Staging Software: 3DS MAX; CORONA RENDERER

This is your step Five

Virtual Staging Training Tutorial - Step 5 ( Get free 3D staging furniture )

What’s in the video:

Virtual staging with 3ds max can be challenging if you don’t have the right 3D models.

SketchUp and its enormous library (3D Warehouse) of millions of 3D models is the starting point for any beginner virtual stagger to find FREE assets requiring a little or no modeling in 3ds max for their virtual staging projects. In this tutorial, I am showing you how I prepare (with minimum effort) a SketchUp model with 3ds Max 2018 for virtual staging.

In this video you will see how almost every beginner can:

– find free 3d models for 3ds max
– export and import from SketchUp to 3ds max
– work with materials
– textures
– set essential lighting with HDRI;
– corona sun
– make the model ready for use with virtual staging

For any further questions, let us know on the YouTube channel – the comments.

Virtual Staging Software: 3DS MAX; SketchUp; CORONA RENDERER

This is your step Six

Virtual Staging Training Tutorial - Step 6 ( 360 Virtual Staging tutorial ) Part 1

What’s in the video:

This 360 Virtual Staging tutorial (Part 1) is probably the first tutorial on the whole internet showing how exactly you can insert wrap around the panoramic image inside the virtual staging software (3ds max in this case) add 3d objects like furniture and decors; create realistic lighting and render everything as a 360 virtual tour

For any further questions, let us know on the YouTube channel – the comments.

Virtual Staging Software: 3DS MAX; CORONA RENDERER

This is your step Seven

Virtual Staging Training Tutorial - Step 7 ( 360 Virtual Staging tutorial ) Part 2

What’s in the video:

In Part 1, I showed you how to import the backdrop panorama and build the room geometry with some basic lighting. In this Secondary Part of the Virtual Staging 360, I’m adding furniture, more refined lighting, and some other tricks to improve the room’s overall feeling. Below is the link to the project “as is” without the fine-tuning details. In Part 3 (coming soon), we’ll take a closer look at some of these details, refine them, and add even more realistic features to the staging.

Results from the 360 Virtual Staging tutorial


For any further questions, let us know on the YouTube channel – the comments. 

Virtual Staging Software: 3DS MAX; CORONA RENDERER


This is your step Eight

Virtual Staging Training Tutorial - Step 8 ( Almost Free Virtual Staging Software)

What’s in the video:

Learn how to do Virtual Staging almost for free with SketchUp and V-ray. Master the technique of Perspective Match (Photo matching); Add lights and How to create Wrapper material in SketchUp. Simple steps, easy to digest – great results.

For any further questions, let us know on the YouTube channel – the comments. 

Virtual Staging Software: Sketch Up; V-ray for SketchUp

This is your step Nine

Interior Design Virtual Staging | THE 3 IMPORTANT RULES


(left) photo before virtual staging ; (right) mood board for virtual staging


You can download the photo, give it a try and let me know in the comments about your results:


What’s in the video:

Do you know that you can use the Interior Design workflow along with the virtual staging method? You will see how a mood board and a floorplan are used for the direction of the staging.

Brace yourself to learn techniques about virtual staging nobody talks about!

Make sure to watch the whole video and master your virtual staging skills by using the virtual staging technique we teach. It took nine revisions and a little more than 5 hours until the ultimate result has been achieved.

Virtual Staging Software: 3ds Max; Corona Renderer; Photoshop & 3rd party plugins

This is your step Ten

Virtual Staging Training Tutorial - Step 10 ( Virtual Staging Models)

What’s in the video:

One of the good websites for free virtual staging models, where you can download and be sure of the quality. Well organized with categories of furniture models, decors, and even textures this will definitely speed up your project time.

Registration is required and you’ll be limited to downloading 20 models per day which is still good enough.

Virtual Staging Software: 3ds Max; Corona Renderer; Photoshop & 3rd party plugins

This is your step Eleven

Virtual Staging Photo for 400$ - Step 11

What’s in the video:

Another very anticipated tutorial is the topic of pricing the virtual staging photos. In the breakdown tutorial below, in 6 hours, I did a complete transformation which was highly-priced at 400$. 

Intermediate-level knowledge is needed for one to do that type of highly-priced staging photo. But, of course, knowledge is not the only ingredient of imaging; finding the right client is another significant step, too. Which I’ve planned to talk about in some of the next videos.

Virtual Staging Software: 3ds Max; Corona Renderer; Photoshop & 3rd party plugins

The rest of the videos can be watched on the virtual staging youtube channel by clicking on the image:


virtual staging youtube channel


Are there more virtual staging tutorials?

Yes, I have decided to make as much as I can cover tutorials in this youtube channel:

Is the virtual staging software paid?

Yes, 3Ds Max, Corona render, V-ray Render, and Photoshop are paid software.

I am a real estate photographer. Can I learn how to do virtual staging?

Yes, if you follow the steps in the videos, you will learn how to do virtual staging. It’s easy to start with SketchUp for virtual staging. We also have a private tutoring option, and you can find more here:

I am a real estate agent. Can I learn how to do virtual staging?

Yes. If you are willing to learn the software, you will learn the virtual staging craft by following the videos.

Can I learn how to do design for virtual staging?

Yes, there will be video tutorials – how to design with virtual staging.

Do you do private tutoring for virtual staging?

Yes, you can contact me here:

Is this a Virtual Staging Course?

We are preparing a Virtual Staging Course, and it will be launched before the end of 2020. Meanwhile, you can watch all the videos on this section of our website or our youtube channel.

The Virtual Staging Course – is it for beginners?

There are many modules in the virtual staging course, where users with all kinds of experience will gain knowledge and learn how to become a pro virtual stager.

What will be the price of the Virtual Staging Course?

If you are committed to learn and become a pro virtual stagger, please contact us at, and we’ll share with you more additional information on how you can book your place.

Is there are free Virtual Staging Software?

There is entirely free Virtual Staging Software in the combination of Blender and Cycles. For those of you who can’t learn Blender or don’t have the time, SketchUp and V-ray is almost free Virtual Staging Software with the only cost going towards the V-ray subscription.

Where can I get Virtual Staging Furniture models?

There is plenty of websites where you can buy virtual staging furniture models. Unfortunately, most of them are paid, but we teach how to get your virtual staging furniture for free (DIY method).

I am a “Do It Yourself virtual staging” beginner; what time will it take me to produce staging images?

Do it yourself virtual staging is an adventure, which you might FastTrack or ride slowly; it entirely depends on you. So spend more time practicing, watch our virtual staging channel, join us on Facebook, ask questions, and reach for help from other stagers. On average, most complete beginners can produce their first decent image at 3 to 5 weeks from the beginning.


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